Funeral home waives fees for dad who died amid Taal eruption

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinas Funeral Homes, the funeral parlor which charged a family of Taal Volcano evacuees P70,500 for the burial of their father, has reduced the family’s balance to zero.

This was confirmed to Rappler by Jevelyn Baleros Ilagan on Wednesday, January 22. She is the eldest daughter of the Antonio Baleros, the man who died on January 13 of cardiac arrest after fleeing to one of the most crowded evacuation sites, Bauan Technical High School.

The Baleros family could not find a funeral parlor that was open at the time as towns began to lock down, pushing them to avail the services of Filipinas’ Bauan branch instead. The Taal town-based Baleros family lived in poverty, with most of them working as sellers of panutsa or the sweet peanut discs that Tagaytay City is known for.

“The bill of my father has been settled. Someone helped us in dealing with the funeral parlor,” Ilagan told Rappler in a Facebook message on Wednesday morning.

Ilagan said her family does not know who had spoken with the funeral homes. She noted that ever since Rappler reported their family’s bill, the funeral home faced “bashing” for charging them a high price during a time of crisis.

The funeral home first charged P75,000, but the Baleros family pleaded for a discount. The mortuary granted them a P7,500 cut, but charged P3,000 for their father’s burial clothes. The family initially paid P25,000, leaving a balance of P45,500. It was this balance that was reduced to zero.

Ilagan and her family are only part of at least 160,000 people from Batangas evacuated from towns surrounding the restive Taal Volcano, which began to erupt on January 12.

As of Wednesday, Taal Volcano remained at alert level 4, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology ans Seismology (Phivolcs), which means that an eruption is still imminent within hours or days. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.